Eugene Cho

$700,000 in debt and never been so excited to hear from the IRS

eugene matrix

Last week, I shared a post about fear entitled, Do Not Be Afraid: Dream, Pursue, & Jump.  And one of my readers, Matt S., doctored one of my photos to give me Neo-like skills.

For the past year, my biggest fear has been this burden and conviction that I feel God has placed upon my soul to engage the fight against extreme global poverty through the birth of a new organization.

I have been kicking myself for going public with the vision about a year ago. There’s been hiccups, setbacks, criticisms, and plenty of self doubt but after a year since sharing our vision and starting a group on FacebookI’ll finally be sharing the name of our organization, current logo, and our vision and fundraising letter this Friday.

As usual, I’m both excited and scared and covet your prayers.

I came home yesterday having doubts if I was ready to share the vision but lo and behold, I received my confirmation in the mail.  We finally received our 501(c)(3) issuance from the Internal Revenue Services:

We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions to you are deductible…

Cool timing. [My wife’s response after learning we got the green light from the IRS: “Now, you can finally cut your hair!”]

I want to publicly thank our organization’s lawyer, Nat Taylor, from Ellis, Li & McKinstry.  He is a fabulous non-profit lawyer and if you’re looking for someone to help with your organization, I highly recommend him.  It’s a worthwhile financial investment – which I should have taken from the beginning.

In addition, our poverty Facebook group has now surpassed 700,000 people. Truthfully, I’ve never been so excited to be $700,000 in debt but if our vision catches on, we’re excited to be able to invest those funds and more in people and organizations who are doing some amazing work.

If you haven’t done so, subscribe to the blog RSS feed or check back on Friday to learn more about our vision and how we intend to do our part to fight extreme global poverty. Even if you don’t have any interest in making a donation to help make some initial investments in our organization, I’d love for you to read what we’re trying to do.

And now, the real hard labor begins…

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32 Responses

  1. djterasaki says:

    congratulations PE! very good news!

  2. Andrea says:

    This is wonderful news!!

  3. gracex2 says:

    wonderful wonderful news, pastor Eugene! God bless you and Minhee for your faithfulness and obedience. This is very exciting news!

  4. teresa says:

    Too cool! I know you’re gonna make a difference!

  5. gar says:

    congrats! what a blessing.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Yay! Congratulations! Our God is so faithful.

    And yes, finally you can cut your hair! We are all with Minhee on that one!

  7. minna says:

    yoopee!!!!
    sooooo excited for the next step in this journey of yours! and i say …. keep the hair. it ain’t so bad!

  8. jHong says:

    me and samohnim are on the same page! that was my first thought too!!! can i be the one to schedule an appointment? or should i just bring some shears and clippers into the office today??? 😉

  9. Daniel Azuma says:

    Congratulations Pastor E! Wonderful news!

  10. la v says:

    congrats p.e.!! praise God!

  11. amen! that’s great man; way to persevere. “God is not done with us” is what one friend recently said 😉 sounds like your own words are a fitting encouragement for your endeavor.

    and let me know if I can help in any way.

  12. eunice =) says:

    this requires a..

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!

  13. Jenny says:

    Eugene, this is such fantastic news! God’s timing is perfect! God bless you!

  14. Bo says:

    Congratulations! Way to persevere.

    I’m pretty good at cutting AZ’s hair. I just stick a no. 2 on the buzzer and just go at it. I’d be happy to do yours for free. I could even get you back to your wedding look!

  15. Maxine says:

    Congratulations Eugene~! When we follow what the Lord puts on our hearts, how can we fail? Inspires me to pursue what the Lord is burdening my heart with…

  16. Darwin says:

    Rock On. Now the party can really get started 🙂

  17. Pam says:

    Congratulations PE and Minhee! Can’t wait to see the haircut 🙂

  18. eugenecho says:

    @everyone:

    minhee didn’t read the fine print. i said i’d cut the hair once we “officially launched” the org. 🙂

  19. leochen says:

    re: the haircut. I can refer you to a good barber… me! and I know only one style…

  20. eugene- supporting that massive bush of hair in back must be making your neck muscles stronger. seems like a backwards way to go about strength training, but I do appreciate your creativity.

  21. That is great news! It’s so great to know everything is official. I am really looking forward to being a part of this movement and following along on this journey…

  22. daniel so says:

    Eugene – Congrats! What a journey it’s already been. Can’t wait to see the impact you’ll make.

    For the record, I’m putting my vote in for a man-perm. With the length of your hair, it’ll be a pretty massive blowout 🙂

  23. johnlunt says:

    Congratulations. I’m following on facebook. I look forward to more on this. I’ve worked with the homeless and others. I think an initiative like this takes a lot of faith and I’m sure God will honor it.

    http://www.squidoo.com/gospelpoverty

  24. Mario says:

    Congratulations.

  25. Tyler says:

    looking forward to friday.

  26. Liz VerHage says:

    congrats Eugene! I am excited to see where it heads and totally get the balancing act that faith, fear, and following the pursuit of justice into the dark sometimes requires. I am praying for your work! 🙂

  27. Joseph Lee says:

    well looks like its time get some work done eh?

  28. The Chiz says:

    Let’s make Poverty AND Mr. Smith History!

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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